Celebrating Hamptons Celebrities: Bill O'Reilly
Like many Montaukers, the recent Henri storm found Bill O’Reilly weatherproofing and taking precautions. For seven years, O’Reilly has had a home in Montauk on an oceanfront two-acre parcel. He discovered the land on a secluded road, designed the house himself and brought in Joe Farrell for the construction.
“I like Montauk’s rhythm, a different feel from the Hamptons and more of a year-round fishing town,” O’Reilly says.
Raised in Levittown, O’Reilly remembers the times as a youngster he went clamming with his father in Montauk.
“Several weeks ago, my son and I went fishing and clamming. … My son caught a 35-pound striper. … We caught about 50 fish in several hours! I have an 85-year-old Italian friend who is the best cook in the world. We bring our catch over to him and enjoy.”
“When I was 7, they broke my heart departing for San Francisco. When the Mets started up in ’62, I went to games at the Polo Grounds in Harlem where the Giants had played. The Yankees are the aristocracy of baseball. The Mets are the working class of baseball. I am traditionally tied to the Mets … I don’t know Steve Cohen (the new owner), I would like to meet him. They are headed in the right direction.”
Logging a 45-year career in television news broadcasting as a host and commentator, since leaving Fox News Channel, O’Reilly has become well-established in what an increasing number of his contemporaries have done with blogs and podcasts. “No Spin News” on billoreilly.com has hundreds of thousands of subscribers and visitors.
“My broadcasting colleague, Glenn Beck, was the pioneer with ‘The Blaze.’ I took the success of my media service and expanded it into radio,” O’Reilly says. “Every night, I host a 15-minute commentary which is carried on some 300 stations including WABC (770 AM) in the New York region.”
He continues, “I took four Fox alumni for my creative team. I have studios right in my houses, where we prepare the content.”
The digital streaming blogs and podcasting is a growing competitive force against television. There are television stations which pay a distribution fee to access O’Reilly’s content.
He has been generous through his foundation named after his parents.
“I try to help children,” he says. “I am helping out in the U.S., Haiti and Mexico. I work with (former) President Obama on his mentoring program. I have raised about $30 million to provide high-tech wheelchairs for injured vets.”
He also continues to write books.
“I have had 16 New York Times number one bestsellers so far — more than any other nonfiction author,” he says. “Nineteen million copies of my books are in print right now.”
After several successful books, he brought the Killing Lincoln book proposal to publishers.
“They thought I was crazy. … There are already 100 books written about Lincoln,” he recalls. “I took a lot less money because I wanted to pursue it.”
The success opened the whole series of “Killing” books.
While O’Reilly’s “Killing” theme is based in history, he presents stories in an entertaining, reader-friendly way. Now with 10 “Killing” books, the latest is Killing the Mob.
O’Reilly confides that many of his creative ideas come to him while he’s asleep in the middle of the night. He wakes up and immediately writes the idea on a pad. O’Reilly’s co-author is Martin Dugard of California who he considers one of the finest researchers ever.
“Two of the ‘Killing’ books most difficult to write were Killing Jesus,” he says. “There is scant primary source material. We had to go to Israel. … The government cooperated in providing the archives. Then we went to Italy to get the Roman records.”
“Killing the Killers, coming out in 2022, has been very challenging,” he adds. “We had to obtain classified material … we got it. You will not believe what is in this book.”